Companies spent over a trillion dollars last year on digital transformation. Of particular interest to many CFOs is the applicability of digital transformation in finance. This is because now, more than ever, finance must reduce its time spent on manual data processing. In its place, the expectation is that finance departments will spend more time on analysis and business partnering.
To successfully deliver a digital transformation, companies must pay attention to:
We have had the privilege of working with many leading CFOs across Australia, UK, South Africa and the USA. While some flourish with their digital transformation ambitions others struggle. In the context of technology, the best performing CFOs tend to ask the right questions across two key categories:
In this post, we will go into the detail of each of these categories and list some of the questions that the best performing CFOs tend to ask.
Who will lead digital charge for your finance organisation? IT or your finance staff? This is a vital decision that CFOs must consider. Ultimately, this will influence the outcome and ROI from any investments made.
Companies with large IT departments often choose to enhance their core applications. They extend core systems like SAP or Oracle or invest in new, IT-driven technologies like a data lakes or ETL. These solutions are often technical and rely on IT experts to implement and support.
That said, many organisations are starting to look beyond their IT department. By 2020, more than 60% of development will occur outside of IT. In particular, CFOs are looking to equip their business users with tools to build their own digital solutions. The reasons for this trend include:
Tools for 'Citizen Developers' (instead of IT) need:
Examples of such tools include RPA, self-service BI and finance automation platforms like SolveXia
Questions to ask:
Digital is a vague term. For finance, the concept of a "digital tools" can encompass the following technologies:
CFOs must invest in tools for digital transformation in finance that align with the challenges they are looking to solve. That said, there are some harsh realities facing most finance departments:
In response to these realities, CFOs must see past the "bells and whistles" and focus on essential features when selecting tools. For example, can the tool:
Digital transformation in finance is undoubtably a worthwhile endeavour. One key outcome is agility - it promises to make finance more responsive. The other key benefit is that the CFO can reallocate staff to analysis and communicating insights.
That said, an alarming number of digital transformation projects fail. To succeed, CFOs must choose technologies that empower their staff to digitise. They must also ignore the "bells and whistles" and focus on technology that is capable of handling the complexities of finance work.
From our experience, finance staff need to be empowered with digital tools that enable them to solve their own problems. If you would like to learn more, please book a 30-minute introductory call with us.
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